Do You Really Need Conditioner?

A few minutes spent with conditioner will leave you looking and feeling good.

You wash your face with a face wash and then you slap on moisturizer. You wash your hair with shampoo and guess what comes after?

Conditioner brings hair back to life after shampoo cleans the hell out of it. Hair experts and even professional good-looking people have been warning against the overuse of shampoo, recommending not to wash hair every day. The thing is, while shampoo rids hair of dirt, it also strips it of the oils it needs. That's why it's best to supplement with a conditioner, which can return the moisture and nutrients hair requires to look and feel healthy.

The creative visualization of hair advertisments are actually correct when they portray damaged hair as a black rope covered with fish scales standing at attention and then conditoned hair as an uninterrupted strand of smooth and glossy goodness. 

Quick science explanation: Those scales are overlapping cuticle cells, the external armor of hair. Hair looks gnarly when these cells don't lay flat and tight with each other, and it looks best when the cells are packed snugly together. Conditioner, through the magic of chemistry, makes cells behave. And that, my friend, is how you end up with a silky, smooth, and (amazingly) shiny mane. 

If you've ever used a conditioner, you know that the effects are immediate and lasts throughout the day. An added benefit of using the good stuff is that it makes bushy hair easier to style. You'll have more success trying to look like a non-chalant Ryan Reynolds with less hair product, too.


The answer to the question is this: Unless you're trying to look like a Sleazelord on purpose, skip it. But for the rest of the population who wants that extra edge, or simply desire to feel good, take a few more minutes in the bath to condition your hair.  

What We Tried: A Conditioner With Ginger

No, your hair won't smell like Szechuan beef after using this. Though the Ginger Scalp Care Conditioner by The Body Shop is infused with ginger essential oil from Sri Lanka, it does not smell of dinner. Rather, it reminds you of an invigorating spice, a nice warm feeling in the cold bath.

On the head, it feels much like the standard conditioner (though not as magical as this luxurious conditioner), but it does the job of making hair soft and less flat (if that's your thing). This is recommended for dry scalp and weak hair, and it promises to soothe and strenghten scalp and hair respectively. 

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The Body Shop, that safehaven of male grooming products because it focuses on nature, emphasizes that this is 100-percent vegan. Also, the conditioner is the other half of its Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, a bottle of which is sold every four seconds. They advise the use of both to strenghten the dandruff-clearing power.

A Few More Good Conditioners To Consider

Kiehl's Sunflower Color Preserving Conditioner

There's no shame in colored hair, but there is shame in letting a good color go to waste by using harsh products. This one is easy on the hairs, so they'll stay the color you want. 

Jack Black Nourishing Hair & Scalp Conditioner


Tea tree oil is known for its ability to unclog pores and clear the scalp, which is good if you lean on the flaky or product-build-up side.  

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Conditioner

Thinning out up top? A thickening conditioner like this one uses proteins to help boost its fullness. Leave it on for a few minutes for best results.  

Davines OI Conditioner


If you're dealing with a multitude of hair concerns—curly and dry, or thick and colored—this is the do-it-all conditioner you need. Davines is known for its attention to non-harmful ingredients, so you know it won't be too harsh on your hair.   

Malin + Goetz Cilantro Hair Conditioner

If you wash your hair often (every day or every other), this is a good conditioner that'll help restore some balance and keep it smooth between washes.  

Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Conditioner


If your hair is dry, it's worth investing in something with intensely hydrating properties. This repair conditioner is good for damaged, dry, or dull hairs. 

This story originally appeared on and has been updated by

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About The Author
Christine Flammia
Christine Flammia writes about style, grooming, and more; she is the former associate style editor of Esquire and is currently pursuing a PhD in communications at Columbia.
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